Cynthia and Jasmine Kudji: Ghanaian mother and Daughter Graduate from Medical School in same Year

By Briefly

Ghanaian-born Dr Cynthia Kudji and her daughter, Jasmine, have etched their names in the history books by becoming the first mom and daughter duo to graduate from medical school in the same year and be matched at the same institution in the United States for their residency.

Jasmine attended LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana while her mother Cynthia enrolled at The University of Health and Sciences on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. The duo recently shared their story and lovely photos of their big day to motivate people all over the world.

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Dr Jasmine Kudji studied General Surgery while her mother Cynthia enrolled in the Family Medicine Programme. They graduated in March 2020 and would officially begin their residency on July 1, 2020.

The story of the extraordinary accomplishment of the mother and daughter duo was revealed to the world in a detailed article of by the University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

According to the report, Dr. Kudji was born in the village of Kenyasi in Ghana and went to the United States at age two. It was during a trip back to Ghana to visit relatives that she was inspired to become a doctor.

Trip to Ghana Inspired Career in Medicine

Dr. Kudji admits she didn’t always plan on becoming a doctor. When she was young, there were few physician role models on TV for African Americans.

“I remember when we were young there were TV shows like ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘A Different World,’” she said. “Seeing African Americans in college or being successful was like firsts. So, for me it wasn’t like ‘Oh, yes, I want to be a physician’. It was more like, ‘Oh, no, can I really do this? Or, ‘Am I smart enough to do it?”

Dr. Kudji was born in the village of Kenyasi in Ghana and came to the United States at age two. It was during a trip back to Africa to visit relatives that she was inspired to become a doctor.

“My mom wanted us to have a family trip back to Ghana and there was an incident where we were in the village and somebody just walked up to us and said that their child had a fever and was sick and wanted my mom and I to help. We put the child in water, trying to get the temperature down, and that’s pretty much all I remember. The last thing I did was ask how the child faired out and she was like ‘I don’t think the child did very well’ and I just remember being so frustrated that the mom had to come to a complete stranger to get access to health care. The only thing I knew that could change that situation was to be a physician. That drove the whole line of thought to ‘Hey, I would love to be a physician.’”

At the time, she did not realize that, just like in “third world” countries, there is often the same lack of access to health care in the U.S.

Dr. Kudji went to Tulane and received a BS in biology as an undergraduate and then attended nursing school at William Carey University and later went on to Loyola University to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing. She worked as an RN and an NP but eventually decided, after being in nursing for almost a decade, that she wanted to become a physician. She researched many medical schools but UMHS stood out from others for many reasons.

In an interview Dr Jasmine said,

“My mother is the most inspiring person in my life, and she is one of the only reasons I was able to make it to where I am today. She was born in Ghana, West Africa and is a second-generation college graduate. At the age of 23, during her senior year of college at Tulane University, she became pregnant with me and had to put her dreams of attending medical school on hold. She had no source of income and was forced to raise her daughter on her own. As a result, she began working as a Nursing Assistant and soon became a Registered Nurse. Many years later she then became a Nurse Practitioner as well as a faculty member at the LSU School of Nursing in New Orleans.”

Their massive achievement has gone viral and they have received many kind words. The Facebook page of Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation highlighted the duo’s achievements and congratulated them on their page.

The congratulatory message read: “Congratulations to this Ghanaian Mother-Daughter pair who both graduated medical school this year and will starting residency at LSU! These groundbreaking women are the first mother and daughter to attend medical school at the same time and match at the same institution.

“As a single parent, Dr. Cynthia Kudji began her healthcare career as a nursing assistant in a nursing home and was soon on an upward trajectory that took her through nursing school to become a hospital RN, and eventually, a nurse practitioner serving rural communities throughout Louisiana and Alabama.

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